Zechariah 1:1-13; Revelation 12:1-9; Psalms 140:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20
OT: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: “The Lord was extremely angry with your ancestors. So tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: Return to me — this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies — and I will return to you, says the Lord of Armies. Do not be like your ancestors; the earlier prophets proclaimed to them: This is what the Lord of Armies says: Turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not listen or pay attention to me — this is the Lord’s declaration. Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever? But didn’t my words and my statutes that I commanded my servants the prophets overtake your ancestors? ’” So the people repented and said, “As the Lord of Armies decided to deal with us for our ways and our deeds, so he has dealt with us.”” (Zechariah 1:1-6 CSB)
Haggai and Zechariah both began their prophetic ministry in Judah the same year: 520 B.C. Haggai was an older, seasoned prophet and minister of the Lord, while Zechariah was a younger man. Both Haggai and Zechariah were post-exilic prophets that exhorted the returned exiles of Judah to return and remain faithful to the Lord. Zechariah, like Haggai, challenged the people to not give up on rebuilding the temple of God, but to actually complete it by God’s grace. Zechariah went even further to encourage the people by pointing to the day when God would send His Messiah to rule from the temple that they were to rebuild.
The name Zechariah literally means “Yahweh Remembers.” That was the message that Zechariah gave to the people who had returned to rebuild and resettle the land. Their ancestors had been unfaithful to God and rejected His ways, and because of that, they were exiled in Babylon for 70 years. However, God never forgot the covenant He made with His people. The first words that He uttered through Zechariah were, “Return to Me, and I will return to You… turn from your sinful ways and turn to Me, and I will honor the covenant that I made with You once again.” God is ever and always faithful to His covenant. His covenant always includes blessing that come through our faithfulness to Him, as well as the consequences of not being faithful… and even in our unfaithfulness, He is always faithful and holds out an opportunity for repentance and restoration… all the way to the end.
NT: “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven crowns. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth it might devour her child. She gave birth to a Son, a male who is going to rule all nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, to be nourished there for 1,260 days. Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was thrown out — the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him.” (Revelation 12:1-9 CSB)
One thing that often trips people up with Biblical prophecy is that they expect prophecies to point to one fulfillment and to be given in a specific chronological order. Often times, prophecies are specific enough to allow someone to know when they have been fulfilled, and general enough to apply to more than one fulfillment. Biblical prophecies often have an immediate fulfillment, subsequent fulfillments, and then a final ultimate fulfillment. I personally believe that to be the case with the prophetic sign that John saw of the woman, the child, and the dragon.
Most biblical scholars agree that the woman in the sign (to some degree) is symbolic of Israel. The child is symbolic of the promised Messiah. The dragon, as John pointed out, is symbolic of Satan. While this sign may point to a specific event in history, I believe that it generally points to a story arch that occurs over and over again, and will have its ultimate fulfillment at the end of the age. I believe that this story arch began in the garden of Eden, when humanity fell into sin and God made a covenant promise with Eve and the Serpent (Genesis 3:15). Ever since that day, God’s covenant people have been “pregnant” with the promise of Messiah and Satan has made every effort to snuff that promise out. Over the millennia, there have been deliverers that have come to save the people of Israel and preserve the promise, and Satan has made every attempt to snuff out the life of those deliverers and kill the promise. Every time, God delivers the deliverer and the hope of Messiah lives on… and God continues to preserve a faithful remnant of His covenant people on the earth. Finally, the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, and she conceived the Son of God. Motivated and animated by Satan, Herod attempted to have the Christ child snuffed out before His life could even begin – but God delivered them. Then it seemed that Satan was finally successful in his quest when Jesus was put to death on the cross, but Christ’s death wasn’t the end… it was only the beginning of God’s complete and utter victory over the dragon, that serpent of old. God raised Jesus up on the third day and called Him up to heaven to sit at His right hand until the final day of judgement.
For the most part, the Jews (God’s covenant people) have rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah. There will come a day, in the midst of the great tribulation, when Christ will call His faithful followers home. The Jews who have rejected Jesus will still be left on the earth – but the ever-faithful God will still remember them and the covenant He made with them so long ago. Just as He made clear to His people through Zechariah, God remembers His people and the covenant that he made with them. In His faithfulness to them, He will preserve them in the midst of the final days of the tribulation, and there will be opportunity for them to return to Him once again and put their faith in Jesus, the crucified and resurrected Christ.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You are ever faithful to Your covenant promises. Even when I drift into unfaithfulness, You remain faithful and keep an opportunity open for me to repent and return to faithfulness in You. I know that because You are faithful, I can be faithfulness, for Your faithfulness dwells within me through Your Holy Spirit. Help me to be faithful as You are faithful, and help me to never write someone off as unsavable, but to always be willing to receive them as they fully receive You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.